Sense of purpose ‘adds years to life’
By Helen Briggs.

old captain

Having a sense of purpose may add years to your life, regardless of what the purpose is, research suggests.

Not only does it contribute to healthy aging, but it may also stave off early death, according to a study of 7,000 Americans.

The research, published in Psychological Science, applies across adult life, says a US-Canadian team.

It may be because purposeful people look after their health better and are physically fitter, they believe.

The study tracked the physical and mental health of more than 7,000 US adults aged 20 to 75 years.

Their purpose in life was assessed by the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with three statements:

  • Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them

  • I live life one day at a time and don’t really think about the future

  • I sometimes feel as I’ve done all there is to do in life.

When followed up 14 years later, the researchers found purposeful people had outlived their counterparts, even when controlling for other factors such as negative mood.

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